PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - - The Wilmington University women's basketball team captured its first victory of the 2013-14 season with a 78-68 win over Chestnut Hill in both teams' Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference opener on Tuesday night inside Sorgenti Arena.
Sophomore Tenicia Spence paced the Wildcats (1-3, 1-0 CACC) with 26 points, 20 of which came in the first half, but it was a Lauren Brown layup with 5:13 remaining in regulation that broke the game's 11th tie for the final time. Wilmington outscored Chestnut Hill (0-4, 0-1 CACC), 18-8, starting with Brown's layup.
The first half saw nine ties and six lead changes between the two teams, with the Wildcats taking their largest lead at 11-4 with 14:28 to play. Chestnut Hill took its largest lead of the first half at 24-20 with 7:33 remaining to play.
After trailing 4-2 early on, the Wildcats went on a 9-0 run to take their largest lead, starting with a layup by Allison McDonald at the 16:02 mark. Spence then hit the next two buckets, a layup followed by a three-pointer to go up 9-4. Theresa Mitchell hit a pair of free throws with 14:28 to play to stretch the lead out to its largest, 11-4.
But Chestnut Hill continued to battle back throughout the first half tying the game for the ninth time at the 4:40 mark. Taylor Carter nailed a pair of free-throws to give the Wildcats the lead for the final time of the first half with 3:13 to play before carrying a 37-34 lead into the half.
McDonald hit a jumper with 15:32 remaining to put the Wildcats ahead, 46-38, before the Griffins started to chip away at the deficit. A 7-0 run brought the Griffins to within one at 46-45, before eventually tying the game for the 10th time, and taking their only lead of the second half at 50-49 on a pair from the line with 11:01 to play.
But Tashea Plummer responded for the Wildcats with a bucket to put the Wildcats back in front for the time being. Holding onto the lead for the next five minutes, the Griffins once again tied the game at 60-60 for the final time.
Brown's layup started a 9-0 run to take the lead for good and give the Wildcats their first win of the season. Jasmine Lee gave the visitors their largest lead of the game at 72-62 with a layup before settling on that lead for the final score after another Lee layup in the final seconds.
Spence shot 9-for-12 from the floor in the first half, including 1-of-3 from three-point land and 1-of-2 from the foul line to lead all scorers with 20 points at the break. She finished with a team high 26 points after hitting six more foul shots in the second half.
Carter went a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line to finish with 12 points by adding 3-of-8 shooting while Lee finished with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 3-of-6 from the foul line. Lee also collected nine rebounds, narrowly missing the double-double. Plummer led all student-athletes with 12 rebounds in the contest.
Wilmington takes the win into a long Thanksgiving Break, returning to the court next Wednesday, December 4. The team returns to the WU Athletics Complex for the first of four straight home games with another CACC battle against USciences. The CACC doubleheader starts with the women at 6 p.m.